As an aspect of providing customer service and developing player loyalty, almost all casinos today offer some form of financial credit, often referred to as “setting up a marker.” Players who have direct access to casino funds will typically feel inclined to keep their own money in their wallets. There is no need go to an ATM or make high-interest cash advances on credit cards; the cash can be withdrawn right from the casino cashier.
Apart from the convenience factor, there is also a financial advantage. Casino credit lines are usually set up as “fee free loans” for whatever period the customer continues playing. In some instances the interest-free terms may extend for as many as 30 to 60 days.
The best way to set up a marker at a casino is to make an application at least a week or more before arriving to play. A form must be filled out, and in many cases it can be taken care of online. The paper work can be completed quickly, but it may take several days to confirm the information provided before a credit line can be approved. Alternatively, application may be made by mail or fax through the casino’s credit office. And for those who visit the casino in person, the cashier’s cage can also provide and accept the credit forms.
The personal details required by the casino credit officer begin with the usual identifying items and contact information—name, address, sex, date of birth, phone numbers, email address, employer, business address and (in the United States) social security number. Expected dates of arrival and departure should be provided, too, as well as how much credit is desired.
Lastly, details for one or more bank account will be needed. The account(s) should contain at least enough to cover the total amount of credit requested. Sometimes, casinos require submission of a voided cheque, too. By signing the application, the player gives the casino permission to conduct a credit check, which may include contacting each specified bank.
As soon as the application is approved, a credit limit will be set. It is customary to set up the marker in the casino’s primary currency. The maximum line can be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand Dollars, Pounds or Euros. How high the limit is depends mainly upon the applicant’s proof of ability to repay. If a customer feels the marker is too small, an increase can be requested at any time, accompanied by additional financial details demonstrating creditworthiness.
When the player wants to access the credit line, he or she does so by taking out a “marker.” It is basically a form of I.O.U. or promissory note. It resembles a cheque or chit, and it can be filled out at the cashier’s cage window, where chips in the requested amount will be issued.
Markers can also be issued during the course of play at the tables in the pit area. The player simply tells the dealer that he or she wishes to take out a marker, and the pit supervisor will provide the required form and ask for the player’s photo ID. A phone call to the cashier’s cage will confirm that the amount desired is within the player’s credit limit, and then casino chips will be issued, along with a receipt.
When it comes time to “buy back” the marker, the player has two options. He or she can visit the cashier’s cage, present the receipt and pay off the borrowed amount with chips or cash. The original note will be stamped paid, and returned to the player. Otherwise, the player can settle the marker by writing a cheque drawn on one of the accounts indicated on the original application.
Casinos expect winners to clear their markers before leaving the premises. They frown upon players who cash in chips received for markers and take the money outside the casino. Such action may result in cancellation of the credit line. Those who unable to buy back their markers on the day they are issued are encouraged to make partial payments at the cage before departing.
Another way to repay the marker is to allow the casino to collect the amount due directly from the player’s bank account at a later date. Markers are “legal tender.” That means they can be cashed by the casino just like a personal cheque. If insufficient funds are available in the bank account when collection is attempted, the marker will “bounce.” The player may then be subject to over-limit charges, penalties, credit cancellation and collection attempts. Legal action for cheque fraud can be pursued by the casino, too, so it pays to use markers in a responsible manner, just like any line of credit.